GPL flag for drivers

Timo Jyrinki timo.jyrinki at
Tue May 15 11:01:33 PDT 2007

2007/5/15, Kean Johnston <kean at>:
> I think what nVidia and ATI do *are* "Linux compliant". I can install
> Linux, I can install, and I can drive my nVidia or ATI hardware
> with their drivers.

Linux runs on over 10 different platforms, so if one or two of them is
supported (x86/x86-64), and only some versions of Linux kernel for
that matter, it's not "Linux compliant".

> wher you err is that you assume that because it runs on Linux it MUST
> be open source.

No, it's not required, but stating "Linux support" is an
over-simplification if it really only supports a specific kernel
version and specific architecture, like is always the case with
non-open source drivers. Of course some may voice their strong opinion
that everything should be open source, but it's really not required if
one just accepts the limitations closed source brings (I don't).

I think the main point is that you cannot really support Linux well
without an open-source driver. You can bring closed "Linux drivers"
that work on some specific configurations and then don't anymore when
eg. kernel is updated. There are quite a few people who have just
learned that ATI/AMD doesn't support their cards anymore on newer
Linux distributions since the support was dropped and the older
drivers don't work on newer kernels anymore and no-one can fix those
to work.


More information about the xorg mailing list